A Nigerian lawyer Zannah Mustapha who worked for the rights of displaced children growing up amid violence in north-eastern Nigeria and helped in the release of more than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram was on Monday awarded one of the United Nations’ top prizes.
The UNHCR said Zannah Mustapha was awarded with UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee for his contributing role as well as his work helping children affected by the long-running conflict.
While applauding the efforts of Mustapha, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said, “The work Mustapha and his team are doing is of the utmost importance, helping to foster peaceful coexistence and rebuild communities in north-eastern Nigeria. With this award, we honour his vision and service.”
Mustapha founded a school in 2007 in Maiduguri – the capital of Borno State and the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency. The school has stayed open throughout the conflict with Boko Haram, which has seen some 20,000 killed across the Lake Chad region, and millions more displaced. The school provides a free education, as well as free meals, uniforms and health care, to children affected by violence. Those orphaned by the conflict on both sides are welcomed into Mustapha’s classrooms as a sign of the reconciliation he hopes to achieve in the region.
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